Switching gears to journalism school

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First of all, apologies for the long pause in blogging! A lot has happened since I returned from Switzerland. This quarter (September through December) I am auditing several courses offered through the Stanford Graduate Program in Journalism. I’m taking Public Issues Reporting, Multimedia Storytelling, and Journalism Seminar.

The classes so far have been absolutely fascinating. I am blown away by the personal attention each student receives from our Pulitzer prize winning journalism professor R.B. Brenner and our Emmy Award winning multimedia professor Geri Migielicz. Public Issues Reporting teaches us the nuts and bolts of reporting and writing. Each of us cover a “beat”, a field of news in a certain location that we come to know very well over the quarter. Examples of some of my classmates’ beats are the foreclosure crisis in the Peninsula, education in East Palo Alto, and criminal justice in Redwood City. My beat is health and medicine in Palo Alto and neighboring cities (no surprise there!). My first story on medical marijuana legal battles in California was just published on our graduate journalism website http://www.peninsulapress.com yesterday. Doing the reporting for that piece was a very interesting experience that I’ll blog about separately at a later time.

Multimedia class has been challenging but a lot of fun. I have been learning how to use Final Cut Express to produce podcasts. My podcast on medical marijuana complete with narration, interview clips, and natural sounds, will be published online this weekend. In the next few weeks I will be putting together an audio slideshow profiling a patient navigator at Ravenswood Family Health Center in East Palo Alto.

The Journalism seminar every Wednesday brings prominent journalists and editors from all over the nation to Stanford to speak to us about their experiences. We get to pick their brains about anything we have questions about, from how to write about prominent politicians when embedded with them to best practices of using social media in journalism. This week I will be introducing our speaker T. Christian Miller, one of the Knight Fellows and senior reporter from Propublica.

I will post my podcast here when it becomes available online. Also, I’ve noticed some interesting similarities between skills required of doctors and reporters. More to come on that…

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